Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

be con

than of the

pable of as many relations, as there can be occasions of comparing him to other things, in any manner of agreement, disagreement, or respect whatsoever. For, as I said, relation is a way of comparing or considering two things together, and giving one or both of them some appellation from that comparison; and sometimes giving even the relation itself a name. The ideas of §. 8. Secondly, This farther may relations sidered concerning relation, that though it clearer often be not contained in the real existence of

things, but something extraneous and susubjects re

perinduced; yet the ideas which relative lated.

words stand for, are often clearer and more distinct, than of those substances to which they do belong. The notion we have of a father, or brother, is a great deal clearer and more distinct, than that we have of a man; or, if you will, paternity is a thing whereof it is easier to have a clear idea, than of humanity: and I can much easier conceive what a friend is, than what God. Because the knowledge of one action, or one simple idea, is oftentimes sufficient to give me the notion of a relation : but to the knowing of any substantial being, an accurate collection of sundry ideas is necessary. A man, if he compares two things together, can hardly be supposed not to know what it is, wherein he compares them: so that when he compares any things together, he cannot but have a very clear idea of that relation. The ideas then of relations are capable at least of being more perfect and distinct in our minds, than those of substances. Because it is commonly hard to know all the simple ideas which are really in any substance, but for the most part easy enough to know the simple ideas that make up any relation I think on, or have a name for: v. g. comparing two men, in reference to one common parent, it is very easy to frame the ideas of brothers, without having yet the perfect idea of a man. For significant relative words, as well as others, standing only for ideas; and those being all either simple, or made up of simple ones, it suffices for the knowing the precise idea the relative term stands for, to have a clear conception of that which is the foundation of the relation ; which may be done without having a perfect and clear idea of the thing it is attributed to. Thus having the notion, that one laid the egg out of which the other was hatched, I have a clear idea of the relation of dam and chick, between the two cassiowaries in St. James's park; though perhaps I have but a very obscure and imperfect idea of those birds themselves.

that

g. 9. Thirdly, Though there be a great Relations all number of considerations, wherein things terminate in may be compared one with another, and simple ideas. so a multitude of relations; yet they all terminate in, and are concerned about, those_simple ideas, either of sensation or reflection : which I think to be the whole materials of all our knowledge. To clear this, I shall show it in the most considerable relations that we have any notion of, and in some that seem to be the most remote from sense or reflection; which yet will appear to have their ideas from thence, and leave it past doubt, that the notions we have of them are but certain simple ideas, and so originally derived from sense or reflection. §. 10. Foutthly, That relation being the

Terms lead. considering of one thing with another, ing the mind which is extrinsecal to it, it is evident, that beyond the all words that necessarily lead the mind to subject deno.

minated, are any other ideas than are supposed really to

relative. exist in that thing, to which the words are applied, are relative words : v. g. a man black, merry, thoughtful, thirsty, angry, extended; these, and the like, are all absolute, because they neither signify nor intimate any thing, but what does or is supposed really to exist in the man thus denominated : but father, brother, king, husband, blacker, merrier, &c. are words which, together with the thing they denominate, imply also something else separate and exterior to the existence of that thing

§. 11. Having laid down these premises Conclusion. concerning relation in general, I shall now proceed to show, that in some instances, how all the ideas we have of relation are made up, as the others are, only of simple ideas; and that they all, how refined or reinote from sense soever they seem, terminate at last in simple ideas. I shall begin with the most comprehensive relation, wherein all things that do or can exist are concerned, and that is the relation of cause and effect. The idea whereof, how derived from the two fountains of all our knowledge, sensation, and reflection, I shall in the next place consider.

Ć H A P. XXVI.

Of Cause and Effect, and other Relations.

ideas got.

Whencetheir

N the notice that our senses take $. 1.

of the constant vicissitude of

things, we cannot but observe, that several particular, both qualities and substances, begin to exist; and that they receive this their existence from the due application and operation of some other being From this observation, we get our ideas of cause and effect. That which produces any siinple or coinplex idea we denote by the general name cause, and that which is produced, effect. Thus finding that in that substance which we call wax fluidity, which is a simple idea that was not in it before, is constantly produced by the application of a certain degree of heat; we call the simple idea of heat, in relation to fluidity in wax, the cause of it, and fluidity the effect. So also finding that the substance of wood, which is a certain collection of simple ideas, so called, by the application of fire is turned into another substance called ashes, i. e. another complex idea, consisting of a collection of simple ideas, quite different from that complex idea which we call wood; we consider fire, in relation to ashes, äs cause, and the ashes as effect. So that whatever is considered by us to conduce or operate to the producing any particular simple idea, or collection of simple ideas, whether substance or mode, which did not before exist, bath thereby in our minds the relation of a cause, and so is denominated by us.

[ocr errors]

§. 2. Having thus, from what our senses Creation, are able to discover, in the operations of bo- generation, dies on one another, got the notion of cause making al

teration. and effect, viz. that a cause is that which makes any other thing; either simple idea, substance or mode, begin to be; and an effect is that which had its beginning from some other thing: the mind finds no great difficulty to distinguish the several originals of things into two sorts.

First, when the thing is wholly made new, so that no part thereof did ever exist before ; as when a new particle of matter doth begin to exist, in rerum natura, which had before no being, and this we call creation.

Secondly, when a thing is made up of particles, which did all of them before exist, but that very thing so constituted of pre-existing particles, which, considered all together, make up such a collection of simple ideas as had not any existence before ; as this man, this egg, rose, or cherry, &c. And this, when referred to a substance, produced in the ordinary course of nature by internal principle, but set on work, and received from some external agent or cause, and working by insensible ways, which we perceive not, we call generation : when the cause is extrinsecal, and the effect produced by a sensible separation, or juxta-position of discernible parts, we call it making; and such are all' artificial things. When any simple idea is produced, which was not in that subject before, we call it alteration. Thus á man is generated, a picture made, and either of them altered, when any new sensible quality or simple idea is produced in either of them, which was not there before ; and the things thus made to exist which were not there before, are effects; and those things, which operated to the existence, causes. In which, and all other causes, we may observe, that the notion of cause and effect has its rise from ideas, received by sensation, or reflection ; and that this relation, how comprehensible soever, terminates at last in them. For to have the idea, of cause and effect, it suffices to consider any simple idea, .or substance, as beginning to exist by the operation of some other, without knowing the manner of that operation.

time.

Relations of ģ. 3. Time and place are also the founda

tions of very large relations, and all finite

beings at least are concerned in them. But having already shown, in another place, how we get these ideas, it may suffice here to intimate, that most of the denominations of things, received from time, are only relations. Thus when any one says, that queen Elizabeth lived sixty-nine, and reigned forty-five years, these words import only the relation of that duration to some other, and mean no more than this, that the duration of her existence was equal to fixty-nine, and the duration of her government to forty-five annual revolutions of the sun, and so are all words, answering, how long Again, William the Conqueror invaded England about the year 1066, which means this, that taking the duration from our Saviour's time till now, for one entire great length of time, it shews at what distance this invasion was from the two extremes : and so do all words of time, answering to the question, when, which show only the distance of any point of time, from the period of a longer duration, from which we measure, and to which we thereby consider it as related.

$. 4. There are yet, besides those, other words of time, that ordinarily are thought to stand for positive ideas, which yet will, when considered, be found to be relative, such as are young, old, &c. which include and intimate the relation any thing has to a certain length of duration, whereof we have the idea in our minds. Thus having settled in our thoughts the idea of the ordinary duration of a man to be seventy years, when we say a man is young, we mean that his age

is yet but a small part of that which usually men attain to: and when we denominate him old, we mean that his duration is run out almost to the end of that which men do not usually exceed. And so it is but comparing the particular age, or duration of this or that man, to the idea of that duration which we have in our minds, as ordinarily belonging to that sort of animals : which is plain, in the application of these names to other things; for a man is called young at twenty years, and very young at seven years old: but yet a

horse

« PoprzedniaDalej »